BCS Poll 2011: 5 Teams Standing in Wisconsin's Way for BCS Title Game
The Wisconsin Badgers entered the offseason following their 2010 Rose Bowl loss with major questions.
So far, they have answered them emphatically.
Bret Bielema's squad sits at 5-0, and is currently ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll.
Russellmania is taking Madison by storm, and Montee "Points" Ball just keeps finding his way to the end zone.
After their first four games of '11, they had yet to face a single opponent that was likely to make a bowl game.
Then Nebraska came to town.
After the absolute beating they handed Bo Pelini's Cornhuskers, people started calling the Nebraska defense the "Blackskirts".
Hype for this team is at an incredible high, and BCS title game talk is starting to become rather commonplace in Mad-Town.
The problem for the Badgers is that they still have some difficult road contests ahead of them, and they are going to have a difficult time jumping the teams ahead of them in the polls in order to reach the BCS title game.
As the Badgers pause and take a week off at the halfway point of their season, let's take a look at their top five roadblocks en route to the BCS title game.
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers
I know, I know, Wisconsin absolutely destroyed the Huskers last week.
But any fan who views the game through the eye of neutrality can see that it should have been closer.
Give Wisconsin credit for picking off Taylor Martinez three times, but Nebraska really did not have a hard time running the ball against Sconnie.
Due to poor play-calling, the Huskers got away from the run, and it bit them in the butt, hard.
If these two both find their way to Indianapolis for the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, expect a much more competitive contest.
4. Oklahoma Schools
Oklahoma is currently ahead of the Badgers in the Coaches' Poll, and Oklahoma State is sitting right behind them.
One of those two teams is going to run the table, and if one of them does, their strength of schedule will be superior enough to that of Wisconsin that the Badgers could go undefeated and still be left out of the title game.
The same could be said for Oregon, even with one loss and Clemson.
The Badgers have to win, and win big, and hope that the teams they leave in their wake win as well to boost their computer rankings.
3. Winner of Alabama/LSU
Let's face the facts.
The winner of this game will have the inside track to the SEC championship and a top two ranking in the final BCS poll.
Ironically, LSU's most talented defender has earned the nickname "honey badger" due to his tenacity and the ferocious level of his play.
Tyrann Mathieu is a monster, and he leads an incredibly talented LSU defense.
By the same token, the Crimson Tide also have an incredible defense, and both teams have plenty of quality opponents on their schedule to boost their computer rankings in the BCS.
2. Illinois Fighting Illini
Ron Zook refuses to go away.
Every time we think he is going to be canned, he pulls a decent season out of nowhere.
His Illini team is en route to 6-0, and they have looked pretty sharp thus far.
Wisconsin has to travel to Champaign for this one, and you better believe the "Zooker" will have his guys ready to take a shot at the Badgers.
1. Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans have not looked as sharp yet in 2010 as they did last season.
That said, the Badgers will play their first true road game in East Lansing, the place where they suffered their lone regular season loss last season.
Wisconsin has a better team, and should be able to pull out the win, but it will take focus and execution.
This will be Russell Wilson's first test on the road in a hostile Big Ten environment, and will likely be another measuring stick game for UW.